The dry season is the hardest.
When the ground is parched and cracks under foot.
When the grass withers beneath the incessant sun.
When the waves of heat ripple across the pavement all day long.
Faith is no struggle when the rain falls without prayer.
But when there are no clouds in sight, that’s when faith becomes more than a silent obligation.
The wilderness is a lonely place.
Dry and unforgiving.
Empty and deafeningly quiet.
The only place I know where being lost means finding yourself.
Do you ever feel as though as soon as one thing goes right, another falls apart?
It seems to be one of those rules of life.
A truth of adulthood.
We fix the broken tap and find a leak in the roof. It is almost impossible to stay on top of everything, all the time.
Lately I’ve found myself falling into a state of stress because I can’t decide what I want to do with my life.
I feel this rising panic in my chest because I don’t know where to place my feet like I’m constantly walking down the stairs and missing the last step.
I hate to be a cliche but it seems that is what I have become. The college graduate having an identity crisis…what’s new?
But to be completely honest, I feel totally lost.
Before this, everyone was always telling you who you are. And most of the time you are encouraged to fit in and be the same as everyone else.
You dress in a uniform, you take the subjects your parents think are best for you, you go to college and then suddenly…the voices stop.
You are on your own.
The silence is chilling. The blankness is unnerving.
The choices are all yours and you suddenly find yourself wishing for the comfort and familiarity of those loud voices you once despised.
For the first time in my life I have found myself becoming despondent.
There are too many options I could possibly choose and it leaves me feeling so exhausted that I choose nothing. I choose to remain stagnant.
I freeze up in fear of what might happen if I were to open one of the doors before me and step through it.
This despondency appears as a lack of inspiration. Words used to flow effortlessly from me. My fingers would caress the keyboard and my ideas would come to life before my eyes.
But now I struggle with that blinking cursor. It taunts me as I stare at the blankness of my screen.
An absence of words shows an absence of peace. I am restless. I am wallowing. I am floundering.
This is the wilderness.
The dry, empty, lost place. The space where we find ourselves wandering around blindly. The spot where we struggle to remember who we are and where we belong.
The wilderness gives us an opportunity to grow.
In this place of nothing and no one we are reminded of what matters most to us.
For me, that is people, my pace of life and my passions.
When I feel lost, nothing sets me straight like spending time with those I love most.
Those who know me, truly know me and love me all the same.
Those who have been through all of the previous wilderness places with me and have the postcards I sent them to prove it.
Those who challenge me everyday to be better and try harder because they believe in me, even if I don’t.
When it comes down to it, there are a handful of precious people in this world who will always have your back.
They’ll hold you when it feels like your world is falling apart. They’ll show you how to laugh when sadness is all you know. And they’ll gently guide you till you find your way back home.
Pace of life.
Nothing causes me to burn out faster than overfilling my plate and over committing myself.
But recently I’ve realized this issue runs deeper than the fullness of my schedule, it’s to do with my entire environment.
I hate the hustle and bustle of living in the city. I hate that everyone is always in a hurry, so impatient, so unforgiving. I hate that this concrete jungle consumes us. Swallows us whole and spits out these grumbling, flustered, irritable people.
I miss the fresh air of the country. I miss seeing people I know and actually taking the time to chat with them. I miss driving anywhere and finding a free parking spot.
So it is the wilderness that reminds me to slow down. And perhaps to seek out calmer places for me to live, work and stay. The city is fine for a while but I know now that my heart belongs in the country.
In this confusing place I’m seeking out the things that make me feel most alive. The things that make me feel happy and excited to get up in the morning.
The things that make me, me.
I miss dressing up everyday. I miss wearing pretty outfits with matching shoes and fun accessories.
I miss feeling inspired to write. Carrying around an ideas notebook and stopping randomly to fill a page because I simply must spill my ideas down immediately.
I miss taking the time to prepare food that I love and that makes me feel good rather than shoveling food into my mouth as I rush out the door.
I hate the wilderness.
It feels so unnerving. So lonely. So indefinite.
But perhaps, the wilderness is what I need.
Maybe wandering out here is necessary before I leap forwards into something new.
Because in the wilderness we are lost and we find ourselves.
We are broken and remade.
We are emptied so that we can be filled once more.
The wilderness doesn’t last forever…eventually we will find our place again.